Nearly 100 students, faculty, and staff members from the College of Engineering joined the University-wide celebration of the fifth annual St. Thomas of Villanova Day of Service on September 11. Volunteers from Engineers Without Borders (EWB), Engineering Student Council (ESC), Peers Enhancing Educational Resources for Students (PEERS), American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), faculty, and College administration went to different service sites throughout the Greater Philadelphia area to paint, repair homes, and use their engineering skills to make a positive change in the community.
Representatives from EWB, the student branch of the national non-profit service organization that pairs engineers with communities worldwide to improve quality of life, traveled to the Caring People Alliance's regional center in North Philadelphia. Caring People Alliance provides after school care, summer camps, and other support services for children of all ages in the city. EWB participants painted a classroom, a girls' bathroom, and replaced ceiling tiles in the main hallway.
“Everyone in the group was pleased with the work and how much of an impression it would make on the many people who pass through on a daily basis,” says graduate student and volunteer Eric Baker ME ’10, MSME ’11.
Jeffrey Gloss ChE ’12 and member of ESC, a student organization that serves as the liaison between the students and the College administration, visited Good Works in Coatesville, Pa., for the day. The group assisted with the demolition and rebuilding of a home damaged by arson.
“Our group from ESC used our engineering and problem-solving skills to help reconstruct the house and make a positive impact on the neighborhood residents,” says Gloss of the experience.
Volunteers from PEERS, a student organization that provides peer mentoring to all students, aided Maternity BVM Roman Catholic Church in Philadelphia with their clean-up efforts by painting and tidying the facility. With so many parishioners present at the site, they really felt as though they “connected with the community and were a part of something greater than [our]selves,” according to Matt Ainsworth ChE ’12.
Members of ASCE, a student branch of the professional organization, really put their engineering skills to the test as they assisted the Montgomery County Conservation District with the Metroplex basin retrofit project.
“We worked on stabilizing the sediment forebays which are currently under construction. Some of us assisted in placing ArmorFlex blocks within the sediment forebays. We were also pulling out invasive weeds and vines that were disrupting the shrubs that were planted there to assist with the basin. We enjoyed working on a project that was applicable to our major and helped the surrounding environment,” says ASCE Villanova Chapter President Margaret Carragher CE ’11.
Dr. Justinus A. Satrio, Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering, participated in his first Day of Service with members of the Dean’s Office to help the Episcopal Church of The Redeemer in Bryn Mawr. After spending the day painting and making small repairs, “everyone in the group seemed to enjoy the time working together for a good cause,” says Dr. Satrio.
All five groups from the College joined more than 4,500 volunteers from the Villanova community for the largest Day of Service to date. Commissioned by University President Rev. Peter M. Donohue, O.S.A. during his inaugural year as president, the Day of Service has become a highly anticipated tradition for Villanovans. As the event continues to grow, the University seeks to expand its mission of service via Alumni Chapters throughout the country.